Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 31 March 2020

PSL 2020: Key players, oversea stars and predictions for this year's Pakistan Super League

Quetta Gladiators will begin their title defence when they face two-time champions Islamabad United in the opener in Karachi on Thursday

The Pakistan Super League will be played in its entirety in its homeland for the first time, and starts in Karachi on Thursday.

Quetta Gladiators will begin their title defence when they face two-time champions Islamabad United in the opener, and they have an enviable array of talent to pick from.

Here's a look at each team:

Quetta Gladiators

Last season: Champions

Key man: Shane Watson (Australia) The leading run-scorer last year, and a popular tourist in Pakistan.

Overseas star: Jason Roy (England) He was purring nicely in England’s T20 series in South Africa ahead of the PSL.

Verdict: Few teams in the history of franchise cricket have possessed such firepower at the top of the order as Roy and Watson could provide. Quetta have rare pace resources, too. They look well placed to be the first side to retain the PSL title.

Peshawar Zalmi

Last season: Runners up

Key man: Wahab Riaz. The leading wicket-taker in PSL history, and he wears his passion for Zalmi vividly.

Overseas star: Tom Banton (England) Aaqib Javed termed Banton the “New AB de Villiers” during Abu Dhabi T10.

Verdict: Topped the league in three of the four seasons so far, as they did last season. And they retain the core of the side that has served them so well all that time. They will always be a threat.

Islamabad United

Last season: Third

Key man: Shadab Khan. Still only 21, but the captain is not light on experience.

Overseas star: Dale Steyn (South Africa) He will be 37 by the time the T20 World Cup happens, but is still firing.

Verdict: Superficially, their squad looks light on stardust compared to the others. When has that mattered for them in the past? They were twice champions when flying under the radar. Coach Misbah-ul-Haq knows how to get the job done.

Karachi Kings

Last season: Fourth

Key man: Babar Azam. Comfortably the top-ranked T20I batsman, but has never exactly dominated the PSL.

Overseas star: Alex Hales (England) Still on the outside looking in on England. Needs a strong PSL to alter that.

Verdict: A best finish of third in 2017 is a meagre return for a franchise that often claim to be the biggest in the PSL. Dean Jones’ arrival as coach is intriguing. No-one else has enjoyed the success he has in this competition, having won twice with Islamabad.

Multan Sultans

Last season: Fifth

Key man: Shan Masood. Great returns in 50-over domestic cricket, but still a risky choice as a T20 captain.

Overseas star: Moeen Ali (England) Arrives in Pakistan after a fine T20I series in South Africa.

Verdict: Franchise cricket and Andy Flower seem an odd fit, but he remains remarkably competitive. He was feisty as he guided Maratha Arabians to the Abu Dhabi T10 title, and he won’t abide underachievement at Multan.

Lahore Qalandars

Last season: Sixth

Key man: Haris Rauf. Just his second season, but he returns as an established star after his winter in Australia.

Overseas star: Chris Lynn (Australia) Blockbusting in the T10 league in November, when he said he was already looking forward to his first trip to Pakistan.

Verdict: No matter how hard they try, Qalandars seems unable to progress in the PSL. Success will be ending anywhere other than bottom of the table. That would be a first for them in this tournament.

Updated: February 19, 2020 12:17 PM

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